Black Lives Matter

I try to stick to fountain pens on this site, and certainly try to avoid politics. But, that’s impossible these days, since even basic humanity becomes political. I suppose I could bring it around to fountain pens by saying I’ve been using them to record my thoughts about current events. Which is true. But that’s not the point. The point is black lives matter. Yes, all lives matter but when I hear the “all” these days the intent is to further marginalize a significant part of our population. So, black lives matter.

It’s impossible to not write something because a) I’m a middle-aged white guy who could be viewed (you know, based on appearance) as a core Trump supporter, and b) the guy who appearances might say I support, decided to use teargas and rubber bullets against a peaceful protest so he could stroll across the street for a photo op. Although, I suspect the teargas and rubber bullets were the point more than the photo op.

Before you say that the story was skewed and tear gas was justified: Virginia State Police pulled their officers out of D.C. after the event because it “… allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety, and that of the people around them, for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations.”

I’ve got no great words of wisdom or solutions, but things have to change. For a good roundup of human reactions and thought out responses see Kopttle.org. That’s a home page link, since no one post stands out. Actually, this one does stand out.

I have this overwhelming urge to launch into a pages long screed, but to stay on point with the only three words that matter: Black Lives Matter.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 31, 2020

photo of this week’s new pen and ink arrivals

New fountain pens and inks for this past week.

This is the week I realized I really enjoy writing a fountain pen dry. The feeling of accomplishment, and that I’m using my pens gives me a nice endorphin rush. So, rather than switching up pens each day, I kept using the same pen as my primary writer until it went dry. The first pen to benefit was the Marine Green. It also ended up being my favorite fountain pen of the week. I just love vintage Sheaffer nibs. My favorite ink is a bit harder to pick from the available selection. I’d have to choose Montblanc Psychedelic Purple since I’d often use that pen (ystudio Desk) to enjoy the color. Much to my surprise, I had used it enough to write it dry. It was the only pen I refilled this week, and with the same ink.

The Diplomat Aero Volute had a three-day run, and I enjoyed every moment of it, despite having the rather dull manufacturer’s too blue ink in it.

But primary doesn’t mean exclusive, so I do pick up other pens during the day if I have an opportunity and an urge to use a different pen. That’s how the ystudio desk pen got so much use.

I don’t think an eyedropper filled pen could keep my interest if I made it a primary writer until it went dry. So, I won’t even try with my Newton Eastman or Edison Huron Grande.

As of now, I’m down to nine inked fountain pens. But I do have three new, never inked fountain pens waiting, which is unheard of for me. OK, the Ringtop has obviously been used, but not by me.

New Arrivals

  1. Pilot Custom 912 with Posting nib.
  2. Benu Briolette Secret Garden

When I opened the Briolette box, I was struck by all that silver glitter. It has a little more silver glitter than would be my preference. Although referring back to the photos, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I’ve yet to ink up either of these pens. I haven’t inked up last week’s new pen, the Sheaffer Ringtop, either. This pretty much confirms the obvious, I ordered too many new fountain pens.

While browsing the JetPens website, I stumbled upon Diamine’s ink cartridge samples, or “Mixed Sets” as they call them. I figured this was a great way to try several of their inks for a reasonable price ($8.50 for 18 or 20 cartridges). I’ve yet to try any but have liked other Diamine inks that I’ve tried. I also restocked a couple proprietary cartridges that I use regularly.

In case anyone is wondering, the Sharpie dates on the boxes are from me. I date the cartridges when I unpack them since, unlike bottles, they will evaporate over time, and I want to be sure to use the older ones first.

Incoming

The Benu Scepter II is still on order from Goulet Pens. I hate to keep mentioning this because it sounds like they’re slow. It was ordered when they were already shut down. I forget if they gave a delivery timeframe, I think it was a generic website banner mentioning delays. Still, in my mind, the eta was mid-to-late June. So I don’t consider this delayed or late.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. Kanilea Cherry Kona – It went dry last Sunday evening.
  2. Leonardo Officina Italiana Messenger also went dry last Sunday.
  3. The ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen went dry earlier this week, and I immediately refilled it with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple. The pen was inked less than a month (24 days to be exact), which is quick for me. I guess all those notes and index cards add up.
  4. Sheaffer Balance Oversize (Marine Green) went dry. After a mental tug of war, I decided to flush this out and put it in the pen case for a short time.
  5. The Diplomat Aero Volute went dry after I used it as my primary writer for three straight days. It held out until late Saturday afternoon.

Newly Inked

None. As mentioned, the ystudio desk pen was refilled with the same ink, so not new.

Links

If it matters to you, this is probably old news, but the 2020 DC Pens Show is cancelled along with the 2020 Pelikan Hubs, My nearly local show, The Commonwealth Pen Show will announce their decision on August 1st. I’ve already planned to skip the Commonwealth show since the room is cramped (as-is any good pen show), and as the D.C. folks said, pen shows are “touch-feely.” Being a small show with mostly local vendors and attendees, they can probably afford to hold off on a decision.

Four Ts and a 2×2 | UK fountain pens // This post gave me flashbacks to my days in Corporate Amerika. I had visions of “four-blockers” (which only look the same) and the Powerpoint presentions where they were expected. Many, many four-blockers in many, many Powerpoint presentations. Once I could uncurl from the fetal position, I was able to read the article. Good classification system. I haven’t gone through the exercise yet, but I figure most of mine are split between treasures and tools. And another interesting exercise: Meet Mr Modal Average | UK fountain pens

Pens into rotation: Week ending 22nd May 2020 — TooManyPelikans and Pens in to rotation: Week ending 29th May 2020 — TooManyPelikans and then there was a milestone Rotation #100 for 2020: Pelikan M800 Black/Green Striated, M800 18K Broad, inked with Sailor Manyo Ink Yomogi — TooManyPelikans which I may not reach by year-end.

My Supply Room: Rotring 600 Red // I still have some older (but not that old) Rotring Pencils. I sold my fountain pen, but I can’t bring myself to sell the pencils even though I can’t remember the last time I used any mechanical pencil.

Bullet Journal Write-Up – with pictures | paperinkplan Bullet Journals never caught on with me. However, I still like seeing how people use them and what works for them.

Six reasons to like Rohrer and Klingner Salix ink. | Fountain pen blog // I haven’t used this ink in a long time, but after reading this, I want to dig out the bottle.

A Mysterious Unique – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // An old fountain pen and new fountain pen I’m enjoying more and more as I use it Leonardo Messenger | dapprman

The Empire did nothing wrong* | UK fountain pens // When slimming my accumulation I decided to sell the Imperial Black and keep the Regency Stripe (Light Side?)

June Set Up – Plan With Me | paperinkplan

[Off-topic] Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder – YouTube // What a former NASA engineer does during a lockdown.

 

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 24, 2020

Photo of my currently inked fountain pens

My currently inked fountain pens

My fountain pen usage, while still more than a couple months ago, has dropped slightly. Due to volume and time, some of my work has gone straight to electronics to save time. Outlines and thoughts in pen, but no written drafts. Since not doing a written draft for any FPQ posts just seems wrong, these still get a written draft (except for the Trail Logs).

If that picture of my currently inked fountain pens looks familiar, that’s because it’s from last week. The pens haven’t changed, so no reason for a new photo. My favorite pen of the past week was the ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen, the first one on the left. My least favorite was the big red, white, and blue Edison Huron Grande. It gave me fits when I picked it up to use. The Papier Plume Burgundy is more prone to drying out that previous ink in the pen. Eventually it got its stride and performed well. Payback for being ignored for a couple of weeks.

A bit off-topic, but I’m back to having trouble Liking WordPress posts. I had started doing it again recently when I found it was again working. Well, at least on my iPad (where I do most of my reading) and iPhone. It’s been failing on my Mac for as long as I can remember. A friend had the same issue, and he called WordPress support (I’m not that dedicated). He was told Safari has a bug that causes it. (I forget if he got it working on Safari, but think not.) He’s able to do it with other browsers, so I installed Firefox on my iPad and confirmed that it works. I’m basically lazy, and since I can’t make Firefox the default, those few extra taps that are needed will probably reduce the frequency of likes. Sorry.

New Arrivals

Sheaffer Jade Green Ringtop, I’m biased towards both green and Sheaffer, but a gorgeous green color. I’ve yet to ink up this pen but may do so later today.

Incoming

The Benu fountain pens I mentioned last week are still in transit or yet to ship. (Briolette & Scepter) It looks like COVID-19 has caught up to USPS in my neck of the woods. Packages are running several to many days later than the original USPS eta. One package from a few towns away took 5 business days to arrive. Maybe I’m just noticing it more since I dropped Amazon Prime and have placed several non-pen orders, so there’s a bigger pool of potential problems.

I did order one new fountain pen, or more accurately, I ordered a nib that happens to be attached to a pen. The Pilot Posting (PO) nib has always intrigued me. It seems suitable to me, although the nib angle might be a problem I don’t think it will. I Pilot Custom 912 with a PO nib should arrive eventually. USPS ETA is Wednesday, but as I mentioned above, I expect it to be late and not arrive until next week.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

Links

Le Tigre No 3 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog //I don’t have much to say, other than I like seeing and learning about fountain pens I’ve never heard of.

Always Improving – Ian Hedley Art

Happy Victoria Day + Thoughts on Pen Cleaning – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop // My Namiki Hawk is still in the queue to be cleaned. I hate having a lot of pens to clean, and I can’t motivate myself to clean just one. Good tip of filling the pen with water while it’s waiting in the cleaning queue.

My Top 3 pens | UK fountain pens // Sometimes I find the reasons behind a “Top” pen list more interesting than the actual pens.

Vintage Pen News

What Are The Best Fountain Pen Friendly Papers For Writing Letters? – Fountain Pen Love

Cult Pens 15th Birthday – Interview with Simon and Amanda | Cult Pens // Cult Pens is one of the shops I use when ordering from overseas. Usually for products not available in the U.S. but occasionally to take advantage of the exchange rate. Happy 15th! (via Pen Addict Member Newsletter)

My Lamy Safaris and AL-stars and their associations. | Fountain pen blog // Interesting read about the associations/memories related to so many Safaris (and AL-Stars).

This Just In: ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen

photo of the ystudio pen (partial) and baseLike most machined metal fountain pens, ystudio pens have had a certain appeal to me since I first saw them. Still, they never pulled me in, and I never seriously considered buying one. Then the stars aligned. Kenro Industries recently became a distributor for them, so they had a bunch of new retailers promoting their pens. This has happened while the lockdown has turned my home writing desk into my main work desk, with the clutter that computers and cables bring. I like having a desk pen handy. A fountain pen that I can just pick up and use, no clicking or uncapping needed.

I have my Esterbrook Dip-less pen at the office but didn’t want to relocate it. This includes a big inkwell and a pen that sticks out at an angle. I had visions of something catching on the pen and dragging it over the edge and onto the carpet. So it remains at the unused office. I also have a Platinum desk pen, but that has been missing since I moved. I like having a desk pen that I can just grab and use, no uncapping or clicking needed.

As an aside – ystudio uses all lowercase for their brand name. I’ll do the same, even though it looks wrong and seems a tad pretentious.

photo of the ystudio desk pen in its baseThe ystudio desk pen seemed to be ideal. It would be ready to use as soon as I picked it up. Having a base meant it would always be in the same place, allowing muscle memory to take over. This means I can pick up the pen while keeping my focus elsewhere. It stands straight up, so I’m less likely to hit it while working at my desk. It’s a cartridge/converter, so if I knock the pen off my desk, the worst that will happen is a few small drops of ink on the carpet. The pen arrived on May 2nd, and I’ve been using it since then.

The fact that this is a machined metal pen also appealed to me. The only unappealing part was the price, which seemed a bit high to me. I do realize that among machined metal pens, copper is usually more expensive. Obviously ystudio knew what they were doing when they priced it since I bought the fountain pen.

The ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen arrived in a wooden box with cardboard cutouts. It’s a light box, with wood more like balsa than a heavier wood. There were cardboard cutouts to hold the stand and pen securely, along with an instruction/product pamphlet. A converter is included, although no starter ink cartridge is in the box.

The fountain pen is solid copper, while the base is solid brass and very heavy. The ystudio name is engraved into the copper pen. It’s very subtle, with no added color, which I like. The copper has begun to develop a patina, while the base is as shiny as the day it arrived.

photo of the ystudio brandingI ordered the pen with a fine nib, which is by Schmidt and has its typical engravings. There’s some scrollwork, along with a large cursive “F” to denote the nib size. “Schmidt Iridium Point” is stamped at the base of the nib.

photo of the nib up closeI picked Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple as the initial ink for this pen. I typically use a desk pen for short notes or to mark up a document. So, I like a bright color in my desk pen.

The nib is smooth out of the box. It’s safe to say I’ve used the ystudio pen every day since it arrived, although rarely for more than a few words. The draft of this article (just under 3 pages) is the most I’ve used this pen in one sitting. The pen sits nib down in its base, so it’s no surprise that hard starts have not been a problem. There hasn’t been any skipping either.

hpto of the ystudio classic desk pen laying on a writing sample

The ystudio Classic Desk Foutain Pen and writing sample (Fine nib / Montblanc The Beatles ink

The ystudio desk pen does stick up like a horseshoe stake, so I do have to move it around to get it out of the way as I move my computer or iPad around. Although, in most cases, it ends up to my right, where I can easily pick it up. Also, since my desk folds closed at an angle, I have to push the pen back before I close the desk.

I’m happy with the ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen. It performs its intended role perfectly. I expect it to be perpetually inked, other than the occasional overnight rest after being flushed out.

 

This Just In: Benu Minima

photo of the Benu Minima with a writing sampleThe Benu materials have intrigued me since the first time I saw them online, which was only a month or two ago. Their fountain pens seem reasonably priced, although with plenty of competition at all their price points. While shopping for the Diplomat Aero Volute I came across the Benu Minima. It’s a small pen, and it had a small(ish) price. I don’t remember if it was on sale, but I suspect it was since it got my attention. The price has since risen, further making me think it was a sale. I decided this would be an excellent opportunity to try out the brand, so I added the Mystical Green model to my cart.

I’ll digress a bit into the Benu Minima pricing. It’s weird, so shop diligently if you want one. The Benu website sells the Mystical Green for $120, but I paid less than half that. Benu itself lists some other Minimas at $120, but most Minimas are $80. Retailer pricing varied from full list (matching the Benu website) or higher to the more typical 80% off, even at the same retailer. They do have a long list of U.S. retailers, although I only checked the ones I typically buy from.

Back to the Minima. It’s a pocket or bag pen, at least as far as the size is concerned. It’s clip-less and is just under 5″ in length. The Benu website says the minima weighs 18 grams, which seems about right. The fountain pen has a Schmidt branded nib. I believe that Schmidt now sources all their nibs from JoWo and Bock for assembly into their nib units. This is confirmed since Benu does say that they use Bock and JoWo nibs supplied by Schmidt. Benu is based in Moscow, Russia, and makes their pens there. Their U.S. distributor is Luxery Brands USA.

The Minima arrived in a white cardboard box with Benu printed in gold. Opening the box reveals a thin, white cardboard sleeve, also with Benu printed in gold on it. The Minima is in the sleeve. The box also contains a product sheet and shredded paper for cushioning. A nice overall presentation.

I bought my Benu Minima with a Fine nib and Mystical Green acrylic. The style of acrylic, multiple shades of color, and sparkles make it hard to judge in online photos. So much depends on lighting along with my own computer screen. The same can be said for other Benu pen models. Overall, I think the Mystical Green was represented accurately, and I’m happy with my choice. The acrylic doesn’t have the depth of the Leonardo or Kanilea that I recently added to my accumulation. The sparkly bits seem to be on the surface, rather than part of the acrylic itself. That does seem to be appearance only. While it’s hard to see inside the cap, shining a light inside does show some sparkles. So the lighter green, with sparkles, does appear to go all the way through. Plus, the pen’s surface is flat and not as rough as if the sparkly bits were applied to the surface. This is a long-winded way to say that although this isn’t a Jonathan Brooks level acrylic, I do like it.

The Minima is often described as being a faceted pen, and some (maybe most) are faceted. However, the Mystical Green Minima is not faceted. If you are buying a Minima, and facets matter to you, either scrutinize the pictures or visit the Benu website. Websites that list each acrylic separately seem to get the description right. Websites that use one Minima listing and then a pick-list for the acrylic seem to get it wrong. Not being faceted, and being clip-less, my Minima rolls easily.

The nib itself is all silver, with some engraved scrollwork. The nib size (“F” for fine) is also engraved along with the Schmidt branding. I’m used to larger fountain pens with larger nibs, #6 or bigger, so this #5 nib looks tiny. But the pen is small, so it’s the right size for the pen, a #6 nib would be comical.

The Minima does not post. Although the cap does fit over the tapered end, it does not hold the barrel at all. At best, it will wobble, although it would probably fall off. (Benu does say the cap doesn’t post.) The Minima is listed as a standard international cartridge/converter fountain pen. However, a full-size converter will not fit, as it is too long. A converter that fits in a Kaweco Sport should fit. However, I never found those small converters worth the hassle and won’t be trying one in the Minima.

Despite being a small fountain pen, I find that the Minima is comfortable to use. It’s just long enough to fit comfortably in my hand. It was comfortable enough to write the three page draft of this post in one sitting. I also found myself picking it up at other times simply because I liked using it. It’s my daily writer rotation, so when its turn comes up, I happily use it.

The Minima is slightly bigger than my Kaweco Brass Sport that I often carry. I’m not sure how well this acrylic will hold up to the abuse of my keys if I put it in that pocket. Unlike the Brass, the scratches and dings won’t add character to the acrylic. My phone often rides in my other pocket, so I don’t want the pen in there. I’d be afraid that the metal cap band would find a way to scratch the phone screen. So, I’ve yet to carry the Minima as a pocket pen. I have little need for a pocket pen these days, and the Kaweco Brass Sport is already inked. While that’s the main reason, another is that I bought the Minima as a rental, figuring I’d be passing the pen on after getting a good look at it. A scratch would undoubtedly make the pen less desirable. The acrylic does appear to be durable, and I’m curious as to how it will hold up. If I decide this pen is a keeper, I’ll probably carry it with my keys to see how well it holds up.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the Benu Minima. The acrylic is a nice variation from my typical pens, very mystical. I wouldn’t want all that sparkle in all my fountain pens, but it’s a pleasant change. The Fine nib was a smooth writer out of the box. I haven’t had any skips or hard starts. I’ve only had the Minima for two weeks, so these are early impressions and could change once I’ve used the pen more. I had expected to sell off the Minima once I’ve used it enough. I’m reconsidering, and the Benu Minima may be a keeper. [Update June 20, 2020: I decided that the Minima doesn’t have a place in my rotation, so I’m putting it up for sale,]